Your local Optometrist is trained to be a glaucoma specialist. In the medical world glaucoma is referred to as “the silent thief of sight.” It is a very serious condition that often goes unnoticed during the beginning stages. Damage to the optic nerve normally begins early before the person with the disease can tell. We will discuss things to look for and consider when it comes to glaucoma in this article, but an eye exam is the most important thing to finding glaucoma.
Glaucoma is when the pressure inside the eye is too high for the eye to handle. This increased pressure leads to damage to the weakest part of the eye, the optic nerve.
Most people don’t know that in the early stages of glaucoma there are typically no symptoms. Glaucoma develops slowly and painlessly and leads to vision loss. The vision loss often begins with the side vision or peripheral vision. This loss can sometimes impact an individual’s ability to drive safely. If the condition progresses far enough, it can lead to complete blindness.
Over time, symptoms of glaucoma can also include eye pain, blurry vision, blind spots, headache, nausea, glare, halos, and blindness. Typically, by the time the patients realize they have vision problems, the damage is already done.
Glaucoma can affect anyone, but like always there are certain individuals that are considered higher risk. These risk factors include age, race, glasses prescription, family history, and underlying conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Glaucoma is a disease that continues to get worse if left untreated. So, if left undiagnosed it could easily lead to blindness. Once glaucoma causes damage, it can’t be fixed and while there is no cure for this disease there are treatment options.
That’s why finding the disease early and starting treatment is important to protect your vision. When caught early, you have a much better chance of keeping your vision. That’s why it’s important for all patients 60 and over to receive regular, comprehensive eye exams.
Once vision is gone, it cannot be repaired. Thankfully, we do have quite a few options on how to treat glaucoma.
Types of Glaucoma
When most people think about glaucoma they assume there is only one version, but there are multiple versions. Some happen when the eye pressure is normal. Other types are from the area the fluid drains called the angle becoming closed off. The most common form is open angle glaucoma, but each type of glaucoma needs a slightly different treatment.
Glaucoma Specialist Management
Once diagnosed with glaucoma treatment and management will continue the rest of your life. Luckily we have quite a few medical advancements in the management and treatment for glaucoma. Running tests to monitor the progression of the disease is how your Eye Doctor will make sure the treatment is working.
- Checking your eye pressure
- Visual Field Test
- Ocular Coherence Tomographer or OCT
- GDx (sometimes, but older technology)
Typically prescription eye drops are where the glaucoma specialist will start treatment. Most patients do well with the eye drops and the drops work to stop the advancement of glaucoma by lowering your eye pressure. There are several different version of eye drops that can lower the eye pressure. The different versions work on different aspects of the eye that is causing the pressure to be too high. Sometimes surgery is required. Different types of lasers or other types of surgical procedures can be done to allow the patient to stop using drops or decrease the frequency of drops.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article.